1992: The Shadow On The Wall
Lurking behind much of the hard-conservative fretting about Bush, I think, is the specter of the 1992 election. In 1992, the elder Bush had abandoned the Right on taxes, and endorsed some heavy Democratic spending and regulation programs (like the Americans with Disabilities Act). Then he asked the Right to swallow it-because, hey, what are they going to do, vote for the draft dodger? This clever strategy resulted in a combined-Clinton-plus-Perot 62-to-38 wipeout for Bush. But the younger Bush provides a very serious contrast, in terms of how he has conducted the presidency. He has been a solid conservative on the crucial issues of defense and taxes, and promises more of the same if reelected; these are a serious positive reasons to reelect him. (In other words, he’s not going to be running around in October saying, basically, “OK, I know I’m a lousy president, but you have to vote for me because the other guy uses Botox.”) So he’s not right-wing on the deficit; the same was true of Reagan. The Mondale/Dukakis liberals laughed at Reagan for saying we would grow our way out of the deficit, but in the end, that’s exactly what happened. That’s why it’s so crucial to keep the economy rising through a solid tax-cutting strategy . . . and a major reason why, for the good of the country, this President Bush must be reelected.